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Bill Macfadyen: Details May Be Scant in Bicyclist’s Death, But Reader Interest Isn’t

NoozWeek’s Top 5 sets the table for two new restaurants and investigates a police officer-involved shooting, but how about that rain?

Noozhawk intern Ethan Rivas carried not just Scoop Noozhawk this past week, but publisher Bill Macfadyen, too.
Noozhawk intern Ethan Rivas carried not just Scoop Noozhawk this past week, but publisher Bill Macfadyen, too. (Emmalia Sutherland / Noozhawk photo via Instagram)

Santa Barbara Middle School seventh-grader Ethan Rivas interned with Noozhawk this past week — and was a real Hawk Star for us.

He wrote a first-class feature story about SBMS’ bike monkey team, which is crucial to the success of the school’s renowned bicycle excursions, and he helped our Brooke Holland cover a tuition fee hike protest by UC Santa Barbara students.

He also wrote a personality profile of Ina Ettenberg, the retired El Camino School teacher who was named Educator of the Year at the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce’s annual Goleta’s Finest banquet. Look for that story to be published over the weekend.

Thanks for joining Team Noozhawk, Ethan. We hope to have you back.

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According to our Google Analytics, there were 82,182 people who read Noozhawk this past week. Here’s my take on your top five stories:

1. Emergency Crews Unable to Revive Downed Cyclist in Santa Barbara

A Santa Barbara bicyclist was found dead the morning of Nov. 20, and officials say he may have died of a medical condition.

According to the Santa Barbara Fire Department, the man — believed to be in his mid-50s — was found along Calle Puerto Vallarta, near the intersection of Orilla Del Mar Drive, a block east of Tri-County Produce at 335 S. Milpas St.

Paramedics attempted to revive the man, but he was declared dead at the scene, police Sgt. Rashun Drayton said.

There was no sign of a crash, fire Battalion Chief Robert Mercado said, adding that the man may have had a fatal heart attack.

The man’s identity has not been released.

Great expectations. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)
Great expectations. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

2. BizHawk: ‘World-Class’ Somerset Restaurant Prepares to Open in Downtown Santa Barbara

After more than a year of planning, Somerset restaurant will open Dec. 9 at the 7 E. Anapamu St. location formerly occupied by Arts & Letters Café.

Steve Hermann, a Montecito resident who designs high-end celebrity homes in Los Angeles, apparently has spared little expense in overhauling the place.

“We’ve spent millions of dollars and two years completely rebuilding the entire facility, ground up,” he told our Sam Goldman.

Hermann says Somerset — which will offer “progressive California cuisine with rustic French and Italian influences” — will be a “world-class” dining establishment that will vie for supremacy “against the best restaurants in the world.”

I reckon us local rustics will be the judge of that.

Hermann also owns L’Horizon Hotel & Spa in Palm Springs.

On the trail of evidence at the scene of a police officer-involved shooting in Lompoc. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
On the trail of evidence at the scene of a police officer-involved shooting in Lompoc. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

3. Knife-Wielding Man Shot by Lompoc Police Dies From Injuries

A man brandishing a knife was shot by a Lompoc police officer Nov. 21, and died of his wound several hours later at a hospital. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the incident.

Michael Giles’ family says he suffered from depression and schizophrenia. (Lompoc Police Department photo)
Michael Giles’ family says he suffered from depression and schizophrenia. (Lompoc Police Department photo)

According to police, officers were dispatched just after 8 a.m. to a laundromat in the 1000 block of North H Street on a report of a man acting erratically.

Upon arrival, they were confronted by a knife-wielding suspect, later identified as Michael Giles, 27, of Lompoc. Police say he fled across the street and tried to hide in bushes along the multipurpose trail near the Embassy Suites hotel.

Police say Giles continued to brandish the knife in a threatening manner, and he was shot by Cpl. Charles Scott, one of the four officers at the scene.

Giles was transported to Lompoc Valley Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound to the chest.

“An officer will use lethal force whenever they feel their life is in danger or another person’s life is in danger, and that is what happened,” police Sgt. Deanna Clement said.

Scott has been placed on paid administrative leave, a standard procedure for officer-involved shootings.

Sheriff’s investigators have interviewed witnesses and collected evidence, including the knife.

“Several witnesses along with officers involved confirmed that Mr. Giles was wielding a knife in a threatening manner throughout the foot pursuit as well as at the multiuse trail where the shooting took place,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a Nov. 23 statement.

“The investigation also revealed that Mr. Giles had made disturbing statements earlier in the day that he would not be hesitant to use his knife if confronted, all of which will be released upon completion of this investigation.”

An official cause and manner of death won’t be determined until toxicology and lab results have been completed in a couple of weeks.

The Sheriff’s Department will forward its investigation findings to the District Attorney’s Office for review to determine the lawfulness of the force used.

Clement said Giles had twice been arrested by Lompoc police on suspicion of violating a court order, vandalism and battery.

Family members say Giles suffered from depression and schizophrenia, and contended he was too small in size to be a threat.

“Michael was a really good guy,” his brother, Marty Giles, said.

A GoFundMe page has been established to help Giles’ family with funeral costs. Click here to make an online donation.

Scratch|Bar & Kitchen checking in. (Montecito Inn photo)
Scratch|Bar & Kitchen checking in. (Montecito Inn photo)

4. Montecito Inn Reaches Deal to Bring Los Angeles-Based Scratch|Bar & Kitchen to Hotel

The venerable Montecito Inn will be welcoming Scratch|Bar & Kitchen, one of Los Angeles’ hottest restaurants, into the marquee space formerly occupied by the Montecito Café.

As Noozhawk’s Sam Goldman first reported Nov. 20, the boutique hotel at 1295 Coast Village Road has reached a deal with Phillip Frankland Lee and his wife, Margarita Kallas-Lee, Scratch’s owners and its executive chef and pastry chef, respectively.

The Lees are planning a restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner — and embracing of hotel guests — along with a bar serving craft cocktails and specialty wines.

In addition, the couple is designing a counter-kitchen area that will seat about 16 for a private chef-type of experience, similar to what Scratch does at its Encino location.

Jim Copus, who owns the 88-year-old Montecito Inn with his brothers and serves as operations manager, said the family was drawn to Lee because of his enthusiasm for creating a community-focused establishment.

Scratch expects to open in late spring or early summer next year.

Liam Murphy, a broker associate with Hayes Commercial Group, represented the hotel in the negotiations for the 2,500-square-foot space.

5. Winter Storm Takes Aim at Santa Barbara County

... and missed.

A strong Pacific storm that was supposed to drop as much as 1½ inches of rain on Santa Barbara County on Nov. 20 came up about an inch short.

Better luck next time.

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Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? Man’s Body Pulled From Water at Santa Barbara Harbor.

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Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

I get it: Hundreds of Strangers Join Man Taking Beloved Dog for One Last Walk.

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Watch It

HT to Jonah Goldberg for my latest installment of sled dog exploits:

(David de Meulles video)

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at [email protected], follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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